The Industrial Revolution might be more intimately associated with northern England, but London was also a mighty centre of grind and graft. As a new book points out, the greatest concentration of Boulton & Watt steam engines outside Lancashire could be found in London. We also manufactured everything from fake China to canal-polluting purple dye, to great warships, to false teeth (in Kentish Town, in case you’re wondering).
London’s Industrial Heritage by Geoff Marshall* is an epically researched book, dancing through a hundred different industries great and small. Over 250 pages, we learn about London’s many vanished manufacturing industries, the power supplies that drove them, and the transport networks that shipped them.
The book does not go into any great detail for any given industry, nor does it set the histories into a narrative. Instead, it serves as an overview and a resource book for a fascinating slice of London’s history, which often gets forgotten about. As the book concludes: “It is a subject with many ramifications and fascinating associations, providing a rich substrate for wider study”.
London’s Industrial Heritage by Geoff Marshall is out now from The History Press.
Read more London book reviews.